Wednesday, 14 August 2013

This cycling craze

Where did this sudden craze for cycling come from?
My Dawes Clubman
Everyone seems to be clad in lycra and donning full Team Sky garb as they pant their way along the road congesting traffic at 5 miles an hour.
 
The entire country has gone cycling mad.
Last weekend Ride London took the capital by storm as 80,000 people cycled 100 miles in the sun on bikes that many had barely broken in.
 
Now there is a mad scramble for tickets for next year’s event where thousands of people have registered for the limited number available and will not find out if they are lucky until February. This of course includes myself.
 
I used to look at cyclists as pests. Hogging the road two a breast causing traffic jams and looking like right pillocks in lycra.
Then something happened, I changed. I didn’t hate them anymore. I could sympathise with them and understand their road frustrations, angers, fears and joys.
The reason I changed my opinions? Simply I became a cyclist.
 
Yes I got myself a road bike and try and commute the 16 miles to work as many times as possible.
 
I wear tight lycra shorts and fluorescent tops with a helmet that has a back flashing light and cycle by legs off along country roads.
 
However I am not a full blown cycle gimp and will not wear branded team attire or own a super duper top of the range ‘look at me because I am a tosser’ bike.
 
Instead I got myself a stylist Dawes Clubman. Modelled on a 1960s style club bike. Retro, stylist, vintage and classic all in one. Not to mention it looks bloody cool.
How did I become a cyclist though and why has everyone else suddenly taken to the roads?
Was it Sir Chris Hoy and his mammoth legs back in 2008 when he stormed to three Gold medals at the Beijing Olympics? Was it even further back in 1992 when Chris Boardman wore that funky spiked helmet?
I am not sure, but recently Sir Bradley Wiggo and Chris ‘no arms’ Froome have shown the world that cycling is cool and that the Tour De France which introduced words such as ‘Peloton’ into our vocabulary is uber cool.
 
The Olympics on home soil was also a major factor.
 
I could never be as skinny as many cyclist. I like the gym too much!
I went to see the very first event of London 2012; the cycling road race. We climbed trees on the mall for a better view and suddenly in a flash of colour and blur they shot past faster than I ever could have imagined.
Sadly Cavendish came nowhere near the podium but the biggest cheer of the day was a man on a Boris bike who cycled down after everyone had finished and was waving the crowd into a frenzy.
 
Has all this cycling televisual and sporting smorgasbord of spokes suddenly got the average Joe on their bike?
 
For me it was a combination of all of the above. Also the fact that I could get a bike on the cycle to work scheme and that I inherited an old 1970s Puch Pursuit.
 
This rustic looking bike gas the gears on the frame and looks so retro that it should have a moustache.
Sadly it has seen better days and is awaiting some loving care hidden away in the garage.
When I saw that bike I fell in love with it. Therefore I needed to find something modern but retro looking. I searched high and low until I fell in love with my Dawes Clubman.
 
So many people ask me where I got it and so on.
It truly is a nice bike and has turned me into a cyclist.
Although I have not gone down the clip in shoes road yet.
The more I ride the more I like it. The longer I ride the more de-tours I take to stay on it longer.
Slowly day by day and ride by ride I am becoming more cyclist.
How far will I travel down the lycra road though?
Only time will tell?


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